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Louis Dudek, poet, professor, editor, publisher, translator and legendary Canadian man of letters, passed away on March 22, 2001. Shortly after his death, many of the people whose lives he had touched, from family members to distinguished writers, voiced the same proposal: there must be a tribute. DudekÝs influence was vast and his accomplishments breathtakingˇfrom revolutionizing this countryÝs small press movement (First Statement, Contact Press, CIV/n, Delta and Delta Canada) and editing such ground-breaking anthologies as Canadian Poems: 1850-1952 (with Irving Layton), Poetry of Our Time and The Making of Modern Poetry in Canada (with Michael Gnarowski), to authoring many remarkably eloquent volumes of poetry and criticism. He was also known as ŰThe Great EncouragerÝ during his decades at McGill University, publishing the first books of such poets as Leonard Cohen. Robin Blaser called Dudek ýCanadaÝs most importantˇthat is to say, consequential modern voice.ţ Les ╚ditions Triptyque wrote that ýLouis Dudek se situe au premier rang.ţ This collection of essays, poems, rare photographs, facsimiles of letters and manuscripts, simultaneously celebrates DudekÝs life and offers fresh illuminations on his lifeÝs work.
ýEternal Conversations is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the life and talents of Louis Dudek and in the second wave of Canadian modernism and Montreal's place in it. It also presents a fine study in mentorship in the arts. Plato believed that 'fair forms beget fair practices' ˇ Dudek's appreciation of beauty overflowed into many beautiful friendships.ţ
ˇ Charlotte Hussey, Montreal Review of Books, 2003
ýMany of the contributors state that you could never walk away from a conversation with Dudek without feeling both satisfied and frustrated, satisfied that in this mundane world of mind-numbing pursuits, you had just spent some worthwhile time with a person who valued art and ideas, and frustrated because he made you aware that there was still so much more to know and to do.ţ
ˇ The Gazette, 2004
ýFor decades after beginning to teach at McGill University in 1951, Dudek was 'The Great EncouragerÝ, publishing the first books of numerous poets such as Leonard Cohen. Dudek came to Vancouver in the summer of 1962 to teach a summer course at UBC attended by several of the young writers who were producing the Tish poetry newsletter, among them Lionel Kearns. 'Louis wanted to open us up, to make us look beyond our immediate restricted area of focus, to put our writing into the wider arena of history and learning. It was a good tonic forus at that point of our development,' Kearns recalled in Eternal Conversations: Remembering Louis Dudek....ţ
ˇ BC BookWorld, 2004
ýEternal Conversations paints a loving and multifaceted portrait of Dudek the man and treats a literary icon with appropriate reverence, humour, and intelligence.ţ
ˇ McGill News, 2004